The Missouri Tigers opened their season in Hattiesburg, Miss., where they lost to the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, 5-2.
Despite out hitting Southern Mississippi 9-6 in the game, Missouri failed to generate consistent offense against 2012 Conference USA All-American Andrew Pierce, who allowed one run on six hits in 7 innings. Pierce earned the win and struck out nine Tigers in the process.
at No. 23 Southern Mississippi
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday (Brett Graves), 1 p.m. Sunday (Jace James). Projected Missouri starter in parentheses
WHERE: Pete Taylor Park, Hattiesburg, Miss.
RADIO: KTGR/103.1 & 100.5 FM, 1580 AM
Missouri pitcher Rob Zastryzny, who finished the last two seasons as the Friday night starter, was less than stellar in his first career opening day start. He was uncharacteristically erratic, surrendering four walks and hitting two Southern Mississippi batters.
It wasn't until the sixth inning that Zastryzny's lack of control really caught up to him. He allowed two go-ahead runs after walking the first two hitters of the inning, and was subsequently pulled from the game after 5 1/3 innings. Southern Mississippi tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning as the result of back-to-back Missouri errors.
The Tigers managed to string some hits together in the top of the ninth, with junior college transfer Kendall Keeton driving in a run and putting two runners on base. Hope faded fast, however, when Case Munson hit into a game-ending double play.
Keeton was the lone offensive standout for the Tigers, scoring the team's first run in addition to his ninth-inning RBI single. He also reached base on all four of his plate appearances.
The Tigers will take the field for their second of three games at Pete Taylor Park at 2 p.m. Saturday.